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Constructs of Quality of Work Life: A Perspective of Information and Technology Professionals
Guna Seelan Rethinam Human Resource Advisor, Ebrahim Khalil Kanoo Group of Companies, Bahrain E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Maimunah Ismail Department of Professional Development and Continuing Education Faculty of Educational Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 603-89468111; Fax: 603-89467905 Abstract Many factors determine the meaning of quality of work life (QWL), one of which is work environment. A group of workforces that is greatly affected in QWL as a result of dynamic changes in work environment is information technology (IT) professionals. This article reviews the meaning of QWL, analyses constructs of QWL based on models and past research from the perspective of IT professionals in many countries and in Malaysia. The constructs of QWL discussed are health and well-being, job security, job satisfaction, competency development, work and non-work life balance. The article concludes that QWL from the perspective of IT professionals is challenging both to the individuals and organizations. The implications of this meaning and constructs for future research in QWL from the perspective of IT professionals are discussed.
Keywords: Quality of Work Life, Information and Technology Professionals, Job Security, Work-Life Balance, Competency Development and Job Satisfaction.
1. Introduction: Meaning of quality of work life
This article reviews literature on quality of work life (QWL) in terms of its meaning and constructs specifically from the perspective of information technology (IT) professionals. We first review the definitions of QWL in order to come up with a conclusive meaning of QWL. Secondly, we describe who IT professionals are and why QWL is significant to them. Thirdly, we discuss the theoretical constructs of QWL and research that used these constructs to highlight their significance to IT profession and organizational performance. Finally, we conclude by formulating a conceptual paradigm of QWL that may inspire future research in the realm QWL. As the work culture changes drastically in the recent years, the traditional concept of work to fulfils humans’ basic needs are also facing out. The basic needs are continued to diversify and change according to the evolution of the work system and standards of living of a workforce. Thus a definition by Suttle (1977) on the QWL as the degree to which work are able to satisfy important personal basic needs through their experience in the organisation is no longer relevant. Generally jobs in the contemporary work environment offer sufficient rewards, benefits, recognition and control to employees over their actions. Although to some extent contemporary workforce are compensated appropriately, their personal spending practices, lifestyles, leisure activities, individual value systems, health and so forth can affect their levels of need. It is similar to 58
to face challenges and situations that require independent initiative and self-direction. promotion. then it is highly possible that the work activities can match their employees’ needs that contribute to the organizational performance. They emphasized the personal needs are satisfied when rewards from the organisation. This review on the definitions of QWL indicates that QWL is a multi-dimensional construct. Lawler (1982) defines QWL in terms of job characteristics and work conditions.European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 7. health. In the same vein Heskett. It is the degree of power an organization gives to its employees to design their work. which will lead to an excellent QWL. The definition is related to meaningful and satisfying work. However. This means that the individual employee has the full freedom to design his job functions to meet his personal needs and interests. Parallel to this definition. he accepted the fact that QWL is complex. Hackman and Oldhams (1980) further highlight the constructs of QWL in relation to the interaction between work environment and personal needs. It includes (i) an opportunity to exercise one’s talents and capacities. (ii) an activity thought to be worthwhile by the individuals involved. job security and career growth opportunities. in accordance with their options. Later definition by Beukema (1987) describes QWL as the degree to which employees are able to shape their jobs actively. job security. interests and needs. Wong. The most common interaction that relates to improvement of employees’ well-being and productivity is the design of the job. Job design that is able to provide higher employee satisfaction is expected to be more productive. 59 . This definition provides an insight that the satisfying work environment is considered to provide better QWL. He highlights that the core dimension of the entire QWL in the organization is to improve employees’ well-being and productivity. recognition and development meet their expectations. Chan and Law (2001) operationalised QWL as the favourable working environment that supports and promotes satisfaction by providing employees with rewards. motivation. However. It is associated with job satisfaction. job involvement. competence development and balance between work and non work life as is conceptualized by European Foundation for the Improvement of Living Conditions (2002). A good feeling towards their job means the employees feel happy doing work which will lead to a productive work environment. safety and well-being. Lau. This issue of meaningful and satisfying work is often merged with discussions of job satisfaction. Indirectly the definition indicates that an individual who is not satisfied with reward may be satisfied with the job security and to some extent would enjoy the career opportunity provided by the organization for their personal as well as professionals growth. productivity. The recent definition by Serey (2006) on QWL is quite conclusive and best meet the contemporary work environment. (iii) an activity in which one understands the role the individual plays in the achievement of some overall goals. It is difficult for the organization to fulfill the personal needs and values of each employee. and (iv) a sense of taking pride in what one is doing and in doing it well. made up of a number of interrelated factors that need careful consideration to conceptualize and measure. This definition. colleagues and organizations that ignite a chain leading to the organizations’ growth and profitability. Number 1 (2008) the argument posted in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in which each individual has different level of needs because in reality what is important to some employees may not be important to others although they are being treated equally in the same organization. because it comprises physical and mental well being of employees. Proceeding to previous definitions. The work environment that is able to fulfill employees’ personal needs is considered to provide a positive interaction effect. such as compensation. However if the organization provides the appropriate authority to design work activities to the individual employees. focusing on personal needs has neglected the fact that the construct of QWL is subjective and continuously evolves due to an evergrowing needs of each and every employees. and believed to be more favourable to QWL. this definition differs from the former which stresses on the organization that designs the job to meet employees’ interest. This definition emphasizes the individual’s choice of interest in carrying out the task. Sasser and Schlesinger (1997) define QWL as the feelings that employees have towards their jobs.
Indeed these changes demand them to perform thus. 2006). pictorial. but the number of IT professionals joining the field is dwindling fast.. No doubt. Such a working environment exposes the IT professionals to high task complexity that possibly leads them to high strain. 2000. The nature of jobs enables the IT professionals to work independently with multinational teams round the clock regardless of their locations throughout the world (Evans and Wurster. Merill. Martinsons and Cheung (2001) further argue that continuous changes in work related factors directly or indirectly affected the IT professionals. The number of personal computers (PCs) worldwide is close to 1 billion. This shapes the organization to a smaller or lean structure.. Mariani and Parlangeli (2001) have reported that work within the high technology and continuously facing uncertainty are potentially more stressful than others. uncertainty. Most of the definitions aim at achieving the effective work environment that meets with the organizational and personal needs and values that promote health. job satisfaction. job security. 2000. Constructs of Quality of Work Life The selected constructs of QWL that we use in this article are derived from the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Condition (EWON) (2002) who have used the dimensions 60 . Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) estimated that 1. 2000). well being. On the other hand it allows the organizations to capitalize on skills and the expertise of some highly competent workforce residing across the world to work remotely with multiple superiors at lower costs (Industrial Relations Services. lack of proper personal development opportunities as well as a greater imbalance of work with non-work activities. all other occupations have a capacity to influence the work and non-work life balance. one of the ongoing concerns among the IT industries is to mitigate the effects of changes in work environment on job satisfaction. Who are IT Professionals? One of the fastest growing workforces in the present work environment is the group of information technology (IT) professionals. 2002) especially in the technologically emerging societies of Malaysia. Andries et al. competency development and balance between work and non-work life. job satisfaction. Number 1 (2008) To summarise. an effective measure to handle its consequences is the responsibility of the organizations. Understanding the nature of work in the contemporary environment. 2. It is reported that IT organizations in midsize and large companies will be at least 30% smaller than they were in 2005 (Computer Computerworld. According to the bureau. reliability. QWL is viewed as a wide-ranging concept. we define QWL as the effectiveness of work environment that transmit to the meaningful organizational and personal needs in shaping the values of the employees that support and promote better health and well-being. Robbins (2001) argued that such work scenarios will lead the IT professionals to experience poor QWL. health and comfort. motivating and retaining the valuable IT workforce as the nature of work continues to diversify. competency development and balance between work and non-work life. processing. 3. Therefore. one out of four new jobs will be IT related. storage of vocal. which includes adequate and fair remuneration.European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 7. 2000). safe and healthy working conditions and social integration in the work organization that enables an individual to develop and use all his or her capacities. but some occupations are potentially more influential than others. This flexible work arrangement creates new employment trends that makes it possible for the sharing of work around the time zone. textual and numerical information which demand extensive use of IT skills. The definitions also emphasize the good feeling perceived from the interaction between the individuals and the work environment. Understanding the constructs of QWL among the IT professionals is essential to provide substantial strategies to counteract such surges (De Jonge et al. IT professionals are involved in acquisition.64 million new IT jobs would be created within the period of 2004 to 2016 (BLS 2007). Bagnara. This definition quantifies the QWL among the IT professionals with the aim to gain leverage in recruiting. work performance. job security.
The symptoms of technostress are related to physical and psychological conditions such as backache. The following section discusses each of the constructs of QWL from the perspectives of IT professionals. Cardosa and Wan Fauziah (1994) had highlighted the alarming situation of 61 . low morale and job-hopping. impressive developments of information technologies have taken place in workplace. In the past few decades.1. 2001) and Malaysia (Rethinam. the daily frustrations and sudden interruptions of software bugs or system crashes. Musa and Bahaman. Smith and Haims (2001) revealed that stress arises in the process of interaction between a person and the work environment that threatens the individual’s physical. Carayon. Duxbury. 1994).. competence development and the balance between work with non-work life. health and even threaten the ability to cope with the environment. An unstrained work environment ensures good health and psychological conditions which enable the employees to perform job and non-work related functions without inhibitions. Asakura and Fujigaki (1993) examined the direct and indirect effect of computerization on workers health and well-being. badly designed instruments such as computers and furniture in ICT work environment have significantly increased work related disorders (Blatter and Bongers. 1994. Apart from the positive effects of IT there are also potential adverse effects that must not be overlooked. Jobs in IT work environment have become a critical factor because they involve a new set of stressors that are also physically demanding. Singapore (Lau et al. The dimensions of QWL selected are health and well-being. There are many definitions of stress as it is deemed as a subjective phenomenon of QWL. 1999). resistance to learn and keep up with IT or rejection of the technology due to individual ambivalence. 1993). (1997) identified IT proponents to subjectively experience stress and dissatisfaction at work. Fountoulakis and Kaprins (2003) that higher job demand leads to higher strain work environment. Higgins and Johnson. insomnia. Stress causes problems to the muscular system and circulation thus. Number 1 (2008) widely in their QWL studies. job satisfaction.European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 7. resulting in work intensification and workplace stress. Thus. Korunka et al. There are substantial literatures linking computerization and health and well being in occupational industry. On the other hand. acne. 2004). They further reported that employees who has been exposed over two years in high strain work environment is associated with higher systolic blood pressure. reluctance or fear of IT also causes stress particularly among seasoned IT professionals. 3. Many researchers highlight technostress concept when discussing stress that is related to IT (Bradley. Employees develop various symptoms of stress that can harm job performance. uncertain tempers. Maimunah. job security. Depression and anxiety are also another form of stress that contributes towards the deterioration of health. Routine work. 2002) such as musculoskeletal problems (Cardosa and Wan Fauziah. psychological and physiological homeostasis. Health and well-being Health and well-being of QWL refer to physical and psychological aspects of an individual in any working environment. Asakura and Haratani. These factors are believed to be appropriate and reliable in the context of Asia generally and Malaysia specifically because some of the factors were used separately by researchers in Japan (Fujigaki. it leads to an unstressful work environment providing comfortable work life. increasing the risk of myocardial infarction which is well documented in psychosomatic studies. The nature of IT professions reflect a similar situation that continuously demanding and monotonous work environment that affects the brains resulting in exhaustion and decreasing in some of IT professionals’ cognitive abilities. ulcers. 2001). IT related jobs have been associated with repetitive strain as well as problems related to excessive exposure to video display terminals (Ng and Munro-Kua. Technostress includes the pressure of mastering the IT revolution. it affects their health and well being. Physical illness and psychological disorders increase when pressure at work increases. hence. (2000) define stress as a response to the perceived relationship between the demands on individuals and the ability to adjust to their work environment. Chan et al. Their results were similar to the study of Iacovides.
the central aspect of QWL represents strength of the organizations to provide permanent and stable employment regardless of the changes in work environment. The prevention strategies must be healthy and humanistic nature in order to enable IT professionals to work comfortably. Jobs in IT industries such as computer programming. indicates that the duration and the frequency of computer use have substantially increased the health risk of the users. It is a feeling of fulfillment and gratification that the employees experience from working. 3. Number 1 (2008) health and safety among the computer users in various occupational office workers in Malaysia. 2003). job demands that cause strain can be detrimental to individual health. rightsizing and outsourcing have adversely affected employees’ loyalty. An unstressful workplace is not merely from the financial reimbursement or other benefits that matter. As a concluding remark. The majority of these studies showed substantial increase in neck. They suggested for a serious policy initiatives on computer users because they argued that the workers’ health should not be sacrificed for the sake of greater productivity and efficiency in the industry.European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 7. 2003). stress and work-related sick leave. IT workplace should focus on prevention strategies from poor health and wellbeing in order to provide a good QWL. Therefore. but they cannot eradicate the problem completely.. workforce are again at risk because of the nature of contemporary work especially in IT industries is psychologically demanding. Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (1996) highlighted that job security is the most controversial issue in contemporary work environment. 1991. The increase in industry wide unemployment and outsourcing trends have made it evident that job security cannot be taken for granted (Probst.. A recent research conducted by Blatter and Bongers (2002) on the duration of computer and mouse use in relation to musculoskeletal disorders of neck or upper limb. This move has prompted some critics to view that employers are adopting an active policy of creating a division between the core of highly protected workers. Job security. shoulder and hand or wrist problem among those working for longer hours with poor ergonomic practices while working on a computer. with long-term career perspectives and a 62 .. providing a sense of security is important especially in the work environment where many facets of jobs can be outsourced. the health and well-being of workforce has improved due to the disappearance of harsh and hazardous work in the last century. 2000). Stress management techniques and complementary medicine may have some positive benefits as short-term relief of strains. it is observed that IT industry has practiced high employment rate but low job security which has led to the intrinsic insecure work environments that lead to poor QWL. Cheng et al. This finding is parallel to the earlier research by Ng and Kua (1994) on the health hazards among IT professionals in Malaysia. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (2000) examined the number of European employees that are exposed to risks or that have experienced illness. Factors that lead to physical and psychological disorders should be nipped in its bud in order to provide a good QWL among the fastest growing IT workforce. Therefore. thus it eventually provides a good health and well being. The results indicate that the combination of high demands and low control at work have impact on health and well being. thus leading to psychological distress and health complaints (Karasek and Theorell. Several large cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have focused on job components such as demands. morale. motivation and perceived job security. Job security A dramatic change of workforce in contemporary work environment has revealed a significant amount of organization change (Watson et al. Hence. system analysis are highly paid but the chance to extend the contract is uncertain. 2000. De Jonge et al. The research signifies that a substantial number of IT professionals experienced OSH outcomes such as musculoskeletal disorders. working conditions and the changes in the workplace. Although. rewards and support.2. software development. The prevention strategies should focus on the relationship between the individual job context. Organization change such as downsizing. control. They observed that the main indicators for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) risks are the work pace which is determined by a high prevalence of repetitive movements and highspeed work.
Larsen and Feimen (2000) suggested that a better understanding of job satisfaction will ensure a sustainable development of IT workforce. As a conclusion. Fortune magazine reported that quitting a job in the technology profession has become an annual event. stimulating. Later. The increase in project based working arrangements is often regarded as employees’ choice. however. offering compensation and rewards significantly lower compared to the competitors for the same type of work can trigger employees’ dissatisfaction that will create intention among them to leave the organisation. Not long ago. evolves as the changes take place in work environment. general concepts such as physical conditions that allow the utilization of the ability of employees.3. it remains as one of the most heavily studied topics in the human resource management especially among the industry like IT which experiencing high turnover culture. Number 1 (2008) periphery of project based IT professionals where employer can leverage scarce and high value talents that tend to be terminated at the end of every project. proud of working in an organization and a sense of belonging that leads to job satisfaction are among the items adopted in any study on QWL. Martinsons and Cheung (2001) reported that IT professional’s insufficient compensation and poor promotion prospects were key sources of dissatisfaction. The ability of organization to provide better QWL to retain their IT professionals has been a critical factor in the effort to achieve strategic business goal. 2000). another. Job Satisfaction As IT professionals become vital in leapfrogging a country such as Malaysia into a developed nation. although the desire has come from the employer to increase the part timers or contract workers and long work culture (Cooper. The cognitive aspect represents an employee’s belief about his job or job situation. as the average job tenure in IT shrank to about 13 months. On the other hand. Job satisfaction of an employee differs in meaning and importance in relations to the facets of work. Typically job satisfaction is defined as an employee’s level of positive effect towards job or job situation that enhances quality of work life. Some may feel pay and fringe benefits that meet his expectations to be extremely important. The definition. job satisfaction has been studied ever since the emergence of concept of job (Lamond and Spector. working hard and intending to stay in the organisation for long period of time shows the positive behaviour which indicates job satisfaction. 1998). supervision. The exit of IT professionals who seem to know a project in detail can ultimately contribute to the lost of business opportunities. This means an employee may believe that his or her job is interesting. the stable transformation of the existing workforce towards knowledge workers emphasizes the importance of having satisfied employees. the scope of job satisfaction varies with the industries however. 3. 63 . it is important to know whether the employees are satisfied. down from about 18 months in 1998 (Daniels and Vinzant.European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 7. such as pay. one’s co-workers support. point to a considerable impact on the job security among the IT professionals. Although. promotions. cognitive and behavioural components were added to this definition. negative behavioural outcomes reveal dissatisfaction in job. Changing employers may be an effective career strategy for some IT professionals.. Traut. it may be essential to have a job that provides an opportunity for challenging assignment. Therefore. most organizations strive to retain the valued IT professionals by various means. and excessive working hours (Watson et al. 2000). This is one of the realities of QWL among the IT professionals even though the organization provides secured job environment that is expected to provide better QWL. In contrast. fringe benefits. For example. The results of previous studies indicate that many different aspects of the job. the job itself and the organizational context within which the job is carried out. The emergence of outsourcing and IT automation concept also has significantly fuelled the sense of job insecurity among IT professionals. or otherwise. The action of attending work regularly. The behavioural component represents an employee’s behavioural tendencies toward his or her job. 2003) are associated with levels of satisfaction. the unstable work nature and the way working culture are being diversified. In summary. It is also widely expressed that job satisfaction appears to stem from the interaction between the employee.
leads to a better understanding of how the job is related to other organizational practices and a greater ability to solve problems. individuals in such work scenario. states that it is necessary for organizations to help employees to balance their work and non-work demands (Lewis. With respect to learning. greater autonomy on job enhances the acquisition and utilization of knowledge whilst greater participation is held to promote cognitive growth via increased knowledge transfer among employees (Scully. Most contemporary organizations do not limit themselves to just training an employee for a job. 2002). 2001). Meanwhile the most important skills for experienced IT professionals were project management. Work and non-work life balance A major component of QWL.5. Ironically.European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 7. 2001). Competency Development There was a strong consensus that IT professionals would need to continuously enhance their skill sets in order to remain employable in the IT industry Work associated with greater task variety.4. which are intrinsically interesting and provide opportunities for competency development. control or cope with uncertain demands thus reducing the likelihood of poor QWL. high job demands with inadequate control reduce the ability and opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge and thus enforce negative attitudes and anxiety which deteriorate QWL. In contrast. greater employee responsibility and greater task complexity that lead to higher utilization of individual capabilities. There are types of work. The opportunity to develop and the use of skills is associated with learning mechanisms. employees gain the cognitive and behavioural repertoire to predict. 64 . Empirical research portrays that IT profession is associated with higher skill levels. Number 1 (2008) 3. Hence. which is important for both the employees and the employers. An ILO convention that was adopted in 1981. with IT revolution and intensified virtual communications. lack of career progression and professionals development in such a working environment may cause IT professionals to experience poor QWL. family life and leisure activities. Martinsons and Cheung (2001) further reported that technical IT skills were perceived to be the most important skill for new IT professionals. 3. understanding the constructs of QWL in terms of job environment that provides essential competencies for the IT professionals to excel in their careers will ensure good QWL. In such a situation. Learning opportunities and skill discretion have also proven to have a positive effect on job satisfaction and reduced job stress that will lead to better QWL. This is seen as an important aspect of competency development that enhances QWL. Therefore. Kirkpatrick and Locke 1995). Such a job environment expands knowledge base. The nature of IT related jobs are expected to stimulate growth in skills and knowledge. Therefore competency development is operationalized as the nature of the job that provides opportunities and stimulates growth in skills and knowledge either for career or organizational development. Career development opportunity will provide essential training that will help the individual employees to equip with the new skills to spearhead in their career. This has been suggested at the international level the need for national policies in many countries. Employees today are more likely to express a strong desire to have a harmonious balance among career. are exposed to greater competency development (Wall. Thus. 1997). The advantage of being able to work anywhere and at anytime has blurred the boundaries of work and leisure hours. This applies especially when the job requires employees to deploy cognitive skills. Technical skills are important because they are related to creativity. who use more advanced technological infrastructures. it is difficult to separate home and work life. In an increasing competitive environment. task discretion and skill development opportunities foster the competency development among the workforce (Javernpaa and Eloranthay. Cordery and Clegg. but they go beyond to furnish them with a support system that encourages workplace learning. interpersonal skills and business knowledge. is the relationship between work and home life. flexibility and the ability to work as part of a team (Jarvenpaa and Eloranta.
It has also been argued that the conflict related to work and personal demands can lead to negative health outcomes for employees. There is a link between long hours and the breakdown of the family. the second is compensation. both physical and psychological. which will eventually lead to poor QWL. This could increase the intensity of work because the information overload through e-mail consumes a considerable amount of time. governments and society (Grzywacz and Marks. A meta-analysis has confirmed that conflict between work and non-work life is associated with impaired psychological well-being and other negative outcomes (Allen et al. IT based employers that have been slow to respond to the continuing pressures have contributed to a growing incidence of work-life conflict among their employees. Working long hours consistently reflect poor health both physically and psychologically. The stringent deadline on their tasks encourages the IT professionals to engage with work task for longer hours in a day. may decrease organizational commitment. hence compromising their personal time will lead to an imbalance between work with non-work life. 2000. Traditional human resource policy practices that require the IT professionals to work long hours at the expense of personal time is believed to generate poor work family relationship. The study carried out by Aminah (2002) supports that inter-role family conflict occurs when the cumulative demands of multiple roles at home and at work become too great to manage comfortably. IT professionals to some extent are required to work long hours. Elisa and Ellen (2001) revealed that the majority of employees suggested that their long work hours have negatively affected their personal life and family responsibilities. primarily because in contemporary business environment an average family is a dual-earner family. Swanson. Burke (1998) proposed three hypotheses to explain the work-family relationship. This relationship is bi-directional because previous studies have indicated that less conducive environments in the workplace have a greater impact on home life than vice versa. 1998).European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 7. (2000) emphasized that problems associated with family responsibilities are additional sources that may diminish QWL among IT professionals.. Power and Simpson. Accordingly. Work family conflict is a form of inter-role conflict in which the general demand of time devoted to the job interferes with the involvement of family related responsibilities. where the events of one environment affect the other. Therefore. this might have tremendous effect on the marital and family relationship. which may create a conflict. Allen et al. job satisfaction and increase burnout. They additionally assert that when an employee has higher work responsibility there will be more spillover of negative work outcomes on family life. The IT work environment is widely assumed to be a high-commitment workplace that forces the IT professionals to sacrifice their personal leisure hours to meet their work demand. where the individuals attempt to compensate in one environment for what is lacking in the other and the third is where the environments can be described as independent. As the IT work environment imposes its employees to work extended hours either at office or home. The extended function of IT as a communication tool necessitates employees to distinguish between significant and insignificant information. The first is spillover. 2000). Most studies on hours of work and health re-affirm that consistent long hours at work do reflect itself in employees’ illhealth. the IT professionals are willing to sacrifice non-work 65 . Number 1 (2008) workload and working hours among the workforce have increased. Such a work arrangement demands the IT professionals to be committed with work whenever possible and hijack them from joining non work related activities. The flexible scheduling of work hours which supposedly contribute to balance work and family relationship. Indeed. The threat of imbalance in work and non-work life has implications not only on the employees but also on organizations. The demands of managing higher responsibility at work and home are also a potential source of stress because it allows a spillover to family life thus creating an imbalance working environment. The portability and the connectivity of IT allow the connection of job task from remote areas. Another important factor that creates an imbalance work condition was a commitment to the work activities. The spillovers between work and personal life have serious implications on employees’ QWL.
poor human resource strategic measures that are unable to address these issues can effectively distort the QWL. Number 1 (2008) related activities to accomplish the task on time. it may result in a poor social life. it deteriorates the interaction of family life that reduces QWL. and if no corrective action taken. appropriate training programs.European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 7. Competitive work pressures among IT professionals to boost productivity with skeleton resources make it difficult to achieve a balanced work-life. Figure 1: A Paradigm Showing the Constructs of QWL Work and NonWork Life Balance Quality of Work Life (QWL) Competency Development Job Satisfaction Health and WellBeing Job Security 4. Therefore. Conversely. alternatives such as career breaks. organizations are able to identify ways and means to improve the approach in minimizing the adverse impact of changes in work environments 66 . 2002). this analysis attempts to suggest the meaning and what makes up the QWL from the perspective of IT professionals within the IT sector. which will eventually fail the organisations’ vision of becoming competitive globally. Therefore. policies. It is pertinent to have a better understanding of the changes in the components of QWL of IT professionals to enable human resource practitioners and adult educators to take proactive steps in integrating relevant human resource strategies. 2000) and family friendly employment policies were suggested to balance between work and non-work life. change models. Thus. hence. flexible working arrangements (Bijleveld. A good human resource practice would encourage IT professionals to be more productive while enjoying their work. The work pressures affect the employee’s social environment. Bradley (2001) argued that constantly increasing work demand creates an isolation of the personnel from their families. Andries and Rijkevorsel. balance between work and non-work life is suggested as one of the measures of QWL. QWL is becoming an important human resource issue in IT organizations. Conclusion and Recommendations IT industries in many developing countries such as Malaysia are experiencing tremendous challenges in meeting the employment market demand. Organizations need to provide alternative means of employment practices to eliminate the pressure of spillover without influencing the career progression. By knowing the constructs of QWL as indicated in Figure 1. The existing low level of organizational support with increase in work-life conflict provides the risk of lower QWL. Reducing the level of spillover may help to reduce the perceived stress and psychological stress and assist to maintain some amount of balance between the two environments (Aminah. Effective strategic human resource policies and procedures are essential to govern and provide excellent QWL among IT professionals. procedures. Personnel and family responsibility are neglected in the process of securing an economic prospect. Therefore. The balance is important particularly among the IT professionals in order to nurture and develop the sustainable human resource practices in the IT work environment. motivation and coping strategies to improve the QWL of IT professionals.
Number 1 (2008) pertaining to QWL. organizational practitioners. This will ensure the smooth transition of the contemporary workforce towards a knowledge based workforce. We believe that the results of this review would also have significant implications on the individuals who intend to join the IT profession and would help the potential IT professionals to prepare themselves psychologically to meet the demands and challenges which otherwise may risk a poor QWL. this analysis would also serve as a guide for the relevant ministries related to communication and multimedia functions. occupational. We also believe that this review provides directions to researchers from the various fields such as medical practice. Subsequently. balance between work and non-work life are expected to help human resource practitioners as adult educators to co-design the IT work with humanistic factors. competence development. job security. job satisfaction. The main elements of the QWL.European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 7. such as health and well-being. 67 . safety and health (OSH) as well as ergonomics to further explore empirical evidence affecting QWL of IT professionals. The article would certainly enhance knowledge on the contextual environments of IT professionals that lead to QWL. decision makers and individual employees to humanize the workplace for a better QWL. This analysis also allows the utility of the knowledge claimed by other scholars in different work and cultural backgrounds to fill a scarcity of information that can eventually improve the understanding on the QWL among IT professionals.
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